Palica Picked up by Philadelphia Phillies
LINCOLN - Another Saltdogs pitcher is joining a Major League organization as the Philadelphia Phillies purchased the contract of the club's strikeout leader Tommy Palica Tuesday.
Palica will be assigned to Class-A Advanced Clearwater in the Florida State League, and it is unclear whether he will begin as a starter or reliever.
It was an emotional moment at Haymarket Park Tuesday when manager Marty Scott came out to remove Palica from the game at the start of the fifth inning. A public address announcement followed, relaying the details to the fans and the 'Dogs pitcher walked back to the dugout after hugging teammates to a nice ovation.
"Tommy worked very hard the entire time he was here," Scott said. "He's a talented young man and I'm sure he'll make the most of this opportunity."
The 23-year old from Huntington Beach, Calif. was originally selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 10th round of the 2007 MLB draft, and averaged more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in four seasons with the organization, reaching as high as Class-AA Mississippi.
Palica went 2-1 with 3.12 ERA in 11 games - including six starts - for the Saltdogs in 2011. The southpaw led the team in strikeouts with 43 in 43 1/3 innings, against just 13 walks.
He becomes the second former Saltdogs pitcher to be picked up by a MLB club in 2011, joining Jim Paduch, who is pitching for Class-AA Montgomery in the Tampa Bay Rays system after beginning the year in Chico.
Earlier Tuesday, the Saltdogs signed former Colorado Rockies farmhand Steve Junker, a left-handed pitcher from Parma Heights, Ohio. The club placed Brett Harker on the disabled list.
Tonight is a Westfield Wednesday featuring 'Bark in the Park.' Fans can bring their dog to the game for free! There will be on-field contests for biggest and smallest dog. For team and ticket information please call 402-474-BALL or visit www.saltdogs.com.
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